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Photo courtesy of Peter Paul Philippines Corporation

by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

At 3 a.m. today, I will take off for an 8-hour land trip from Kidapawan City to Plaridel, Misamis Occidental for a meeting arranged by Cong. Diego "Nonoy" Ty with officials of a Quezon-based coconut processing firm, Peter Paul Philippines.

The company, a subsidiary of the US-based Peter Paul Inc. of Naugatuck, Connecticut, is opening up a facility in Plaridel, Misamis Occidental which would process coconut into high value products such as Virgin Coconut Oil, Coconut Milk, Dessicated Coconut, Coconut Water and others.

Established in Candelaria, Quezon in 1946 shortly after World War II and days before the July 4 Philippine Independence from the US, Peter Paul Philippines is one of the pioneering American companies in the country.

The company is moving to Mindanao as it expands its operations due to increased demand for coconut products worldwide and the scarcity of supply in Quezon and the Bicol Region.

Cong. Ty said the company is seeking the support of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) in ensuring sufficient and sustainable supply of coconuts for its operations.

Shortly after Cong. Ty and I talked by phone last week, I immediately instructed the regional officers of MinDA to coordinate with the different coconut farmers groups in the Western Mindanao Area, including the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to link them up with the new player in the region's coconut industry.

The entry of Peter Paul Philippines would provide an added market for coconut products from Mindanao which accounts for 68% of the total production of the whole country.

The area chosen by Peter Paul Philippines to set up a processing plant is also very strategic because of its proximity to the major coconut producing provinces of Mindanao.

Today, I will meet with the officers of the company to ensure that the needed support is provided to the company.

There is only one assurance that I would like to get from Peter Paul Philppines officials and that is a fair price for the produce of Mindanao's coconut farmers.

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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol
Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Local Government Units in Mindanao, especially populous provinces, are urged by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) to lead the region's Cattle Production Program to ensure sufficient meat supply for their constituents.

The Cattle Production Program, which will be supported by the Development Bank of the Philippines through low-interest loans, aims to establish Cattle Breeding and Fattening Projects in each of the 29 provinces of Mindanao.

The Cattle Fattening Project involves the establishment of feedlots where steers and culled cows to be sourced from Australia or other cattle producing countries would be fed for 100 days before these are slaughtered for meat.

A component of the Cattle Fattening Project is a modern Abattoir which would process the fattened cattle into market-ready products.

The Cattle Breeding Project, on the other hand, would involve the upgrading of the local stocks of cattle through Artificial Insemination using semen from outstanding breeds.

It would also include the procurement of heifers or cows for local breeding to increase the cattle population in Mindanao.

The Philippines has always relied on imported beef because of a very minuscule cattle population of only 2.5-million for a human population of 110-million.

The world's Number 1 Cattle Producer, Brazil, has 232-million cattle for a population of 212-million.

MinDA will integrate the Cattle Production Program with its Sorghum Development Program which will provide the needed silage.

Initially, the program which is expected to start production in two years, would aim to fill the local beef requirements then gradually increase the number of cattle in the program to supply the big cities in the Visayas and Luzon.

MinDA earlier engaged a Livestock Consultant, Outstanding OFW Arnel Corpuz to handle the Cattle Production Program which would start with the identification of five provinces which would serve as pilot areas.

Already, four provinces have signified intention to join the program and these are Lanao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Misamis Oriental and North Cotabato.

On Tuesday, I will personally present the program to Misamis Occidental Governor Philip Tan to complete the number of pilot provinces needed for the program.

Each of the province will start with an initial 1,000 steers or culled cows to be fattened.

Watch the full video below:

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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

With 16 months to go before the end of his Presidency, former Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte could ride into the political sunset with an indisputable legacy tucked in his breast pocket - Peace in Mindanao.

President Duterte's personal and direct handling of the peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was in stark contrast to the methods used by his predecessors who delegated the negotiating to a Panel which engaged the MILF negotiators in an endless peace talks some of which were held outside of the country.

In one scheduled meeting with the President in Davao City, I waited until a visitor who met with him one-on-one stepped out of the room. It turned out to be then MILF Chairman Ahod Murad Ebrahim.

The long meeting was just between the two of them - no panels, no intermediaries and no fanfare.

The jury is still out on whether the nascent Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao could deliver the governance which will sustain the peace and security brought about by the peace agreement.

One thing is certain - there is now peace and security in Mindanao wracked by more than six decades of fighting which stunted the progress of a land which could actually feed the whole nation and fuel a robust economy.

I am the living witness to this change in Mindanao today.

Known in Mindanao as the No. 1 Enemy of the MILF mainly because of my very vocal opposition to the violence that killed many of my people which led to my legal challenge of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), I was in the cross hairs of those sympathetic with the rebel group for many years.

I survived several assassination attempts when I was Governor of North Cotabato, the most sensational of which was the foiled bombing of a radio station in Kidapawan City in 2003 where I was supposed to host a radio program.

When I was appointed Secretary of Agriculture, I reached out to MILF Chairman Murad and visited their main camp in Darapan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

There is a general feeling of security now in Mindanao.

Last month, after the ground breaking of the Solar Powered Water System and Solar Powered Water System in Taraka, Lanao del Sur, I and my guest, Development Bank of the Philippines President Emmanuel G. Herbosa, I decided to take a route home to Kidapawan City which I had never travelled in my lifetime as a Mindanaoan.

The route, suggested by Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr., would take me and my group through the towns of Bumbaran, Maguing, Amay Manabilang and Wao then Bukidnon.

There was, however, a caveat: We would be passing through a territory controlled by the MILF which has a redoubt in Maguing, Camp Darul Hedjrah, Base of the 103rd Command.

This MILF camp, according the PNP Provincial Commander of Lanao del Sur, was never penetrated by government forces in the past.

Arriving at the site of the 103rd Base Command, I decided to get off the vehicle and asked the MILF cadres if the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Media Team could shoot a documentary in front of their camp to which they agreed.

We were not able to continue with the journey towards Wao passing through the mountains of Lanao del Sur because of a landslide and we had to turn back as it was almost nightfall.

We took the long route via the ruins of Marawi City, Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro City and Malaybalay, Bukidnon arriving in Kidapawan City at 3 a.m.

Years ago, this night travel, especially for "marked" persons like me, was unthinkable.

This is the testament of the new found peace in Mindanao and I am the living proof.

Watch the full video below:


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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The town of Wao, Lanao del Sur, one of the biggest corn producing areas of Mindanao, is now preparing for the establishment of a modern Corn Grains Silo Storage System which would modernize post-harvest handling and provide farmers better income.

Two weeks ago, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) conducted a forum in Wao, Lanao del Sur which included provincial officials led by Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr., Cong. Ansarrudin Adiong, Mayor Elvino Balicao and farmers to brief the stakeholders on the benefits of modern post-harvest facilities.

Wao is one of the five areas identified by MinDA as pilot areas for the Mindanao Corn Grains Silo Storage System under the European Union (EU) funded Mindanao Peace and Development Rise (MINPAD Rise) program.

The program is aimed an ending age-old problems faced by corn farmers of Mindanao which include the absence of post-harvest facilities including dryers and storage silos.

When established, farmers will be able to dry and store their corn produce while waiting for a better price after peak harvest season.

The project is expected to increase and stabilize corn supply and protect farmers from manipulative grains trading.

The town of Baungon, Bukidnon is the first site of the Corn Grains Silo Storage System while three other provinces, including Davao del Norte, South Cotabato and North Cotabato are lined up for the program.

Watch the full video below:

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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) on Thursday, Feb. 24, will organize the Infrastructure Monitoring and Advisory Group of Davao del Norte to oversee the implementation of major infrastructure projects, including the P20-B Davao City-Samal Island Bridge.

The organization of the Davao del Norte IMAG was agreed upon during the meeting on Thursday between MinDA, Gov. Jubahib and project engineers of the Department of Public Works and Highways involved in the Davao-Samal Bridge project which had suffered implementation delays.

Representing DPWH in the meeting were Marlon Galerio Project Manager of the Davao-Samal Bridge, Joweto Tulaylay, Project Engineer and two other young engineers.

The Davao del Norte IMAG will be the first of the monitoring groups to be organized in the different provinces of Mindanao to monitor the progress and development of key infrastructure projects, many of which had suffered delays.

For Davao del Norte, the IMAG will be headed by Provincial Governor Edwin Jubahib with different agencies of government, especially the Department of Public Works and Highways, the religious sector, the mayors of the towns where the project is located and civic organizations as members.

Institutionalized by the then Mindanao Economic and Development Council (MEDCO) in the mid-1990s, I previously chaired the IMAG for the whole of Mindanao when I was president of the Mindanao Governors and Mayors league in 1998.”

The IMAG proved to be a very effective mechanism in giving stakeholders greater involvement in the monitoring of major infrastructure projects by conducting quarterly meetings where all members, especially the construction company, report on the progress of the project.

When I was IMAG Chairman, a local contractor who was always behind in project implementation was banned by the DPWH on the recommendation of the IMAG.

After the organization of the IMAG for Davao del Norte, MinDA will move to other provinces and convene the same monitoring body, especially in the Panguil Bay Bridge construction, the Alicia-Olutanga Road in Zamboanga Sibugay and other areas.

With 14 months left in the Presidency of Rody Duterte, MinDA is closely supervising the completion of major projects in Mindanao.

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